February 3, 2010

Invisalign: The Invisible Treatment

Invisalign is a series of clear teeth aligners that are easy to take out. They evolved to meet the demand for an alternative to metal braces, which many people think are ugly and stay on teeth until your teeth are straight. Invisalign braces are sets of plastic trays that are nearly invisible when worn. As you wear them, your teeth slowly but surely shift into place.

The process begins at the dentist’s office. First, they take dental impressions, photos, and x-rays of your teeth. These are used to create a 3D model. Software maps the stages of treatment and creates custom models for each stage. After a review, the first set is shipped to your orthodontist to pass on to you. You’ll get a new set every two weeks to help shift your teeth step by step.

Types of Invisalign Treatments

There are a few types of Invisalign products to chose from:

  • Invisalign Full is the base option
  • Invisalign Express 10 and Invisalign Lite are lower priced options for less complex cases (the first uses up to 10 sets of aligners; the second, up to 14 sets)
  • Invisalign Teen has everything in the base type plus more to address the needs of teens, such as wear indicators and six free replacements
  • Invisalign Assist has still more features, such as treatment planning help, progress checking, and staged shipments

Invisalign Treatment Timeframe

  • The braces should be worn about 20 hours a day
  • You will need a dental checkup every 4 to 6 weeks
  • Minor adjustments are made at 20 weeks
  • Major adjustments: varies

How to Get Invisalign

If you think you may need braces, set up time with an orthodontist. She will help you assess what type of work you may need.

To learn more about Invisalign, check out our blog on the pros and cons.

Invisalign braces are designed, manufactured, and marketed by Align Technology, Inc.